Pac-12 Bracketology: Final Update and Bubble Predictions

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 17th, 2013

After four months of basketball, the NCAA, NIT, and CBI fields will be released later today. In this piece, I project how each Pac-12 team fits into the field and where the national bubble stands. To review last night’s post, click here.

Category Team Projected Seed Projected Opponent P12 S Curve Rank
Definitely Dancin’ Arizona 5 Boise State/Middle Tenn 18 – Down One Spot
UCLA 7 Minnesota 25 – Down One Spot
Oregon* 8 San Diego State 30 – Up Four Spots
 
Bubble In Colorado 10 Colorado State 38 – No Change
California 10 Creighton* 39 – No Change
Bubble Out Arizona State 2 (NIT) Stephen F. Austin* No Change
NIT Locks Stanford 3 (NIT) Northern Iowa No Change
NIT Bubble Out Washington N/A UTEP (CBI) No Change

*Conference Champ

We’ll just run through this quickly and address the changes from last night. Arizona drops one spot as a result of Saint Louis’ win against Butler. That means the Wildcats now face the winner of the Boise State/Middle Tennessee First Four game. UCLA drops one spot as well after losing to Oregon. They also get a much tougher match-up in Minnesota than what I projected last night (Bucknell). Oregon climbed four spots after upsetting UCLA, but because North Carolina got a good win as well, the Ducks are still in the dreaded #8/#9 game. They face San Diego State in my projections. There are no changes on the bubble, as Colorado and California didn’t move at all after last night’s action. Both teams remain #10 seeds and still face Colorado State and Creighton.

In the NIT, Arizona State remains a #2 seed but gets a new first round opponent after some NIT auto bids were handed out last night. They now get Stephen F. Austin at the Wells Fargo Arena early next week, a dangerous club that finished the regular season 27-4. Stanford is just behind the Sun Devils as a #3 seed and gets a very tough match-up in Northern Iowa.

Due to the increase in NIT automatic bids over the past couple of days, Washington won’t make the field of 32. They are my seventh team out of the field and host UTEP in the first round of the CBI.

National Bubble Watch – NCAA

  • Last Four Byes: Wichita State, Temple, La Salle, Virginia (last bye)
  • Last Four In: Boise State, Iowa State, Villanova, Middle Tennessee
  • First Four Out: Kentucky, Mississippi, Southern Miss, Iowa
  • Next Four Out: Alabama, Arizona State, Tennessee, Baylor

Some think Villanova and Boise State are locks, but I just don’t see it that way. The Wildcats have an RPI rank of #51; far from a team locked into the field. Both will make it, but with a rough Championship Week, they’ll be going to Dayton. La Salle, meanwhile, should avoid the First Four. Finishing tied for third in the Atlantic 10 is no small task, and the Explorers finished with quality wins over Villanova, Iona, Butler, and VCU. The only other pick that is widely disagreed with is the exclusion of Mississippi, but I ask you this; just count the wins. Count the wins in which the Rebels have beaten a solid team, and compare it to the list of Villanova, Iowa State, or even Kentucky. They don’t even come close. Ole Miss could still make the field if they knock off Florida later this morning, meaning Middle Tennessee would likely drop to the NIT.

Kentucky and Iowa will be closer to the field of 68 than you think. And so will Alabama and Arizona State. With the softness of the bubble this season, anyone can make the case that the Wildcats should be in over the Blue Raiders, or that the Crimson Tide could beat Iowa State.

NIT Bubble Watch

  • Last Four In: Denver, Wyoming, BYU, Northern Iowa
  • First Four Out: St. John’s, Detroit, Georgia Tech, LSU
  • Next Four Out: Indiana State, Florida State, Washington, Texas A&M

Most have teams like the Red Storm, Tigers, and Seminoles in the NIT, but I’m opting for the mid-majors instead. While the NCAA field is usually top-heavy with power conference schools, the bottom part of the NIT should be looked at as who would win in a game between a mid and a power school. Denver-SJU? Don’t think there’s any doubt with the way the Pioneers are playing right now that they get the win.

The CBI is one of the toughest fields to project, as there’s just so many “deserving” teams for only 16 spots. The biggest question is whether or not invites will be extended to the power conference teams that struggled for the majority of the season before catching fire in the final few weeks. Utah and Texas are a couple of those examples, and right now I have the Horns making it and the Utes barely being left out.

NCAA One Seeds 

Since it’s what everyone’s been talking about lately, here’s mine in order:

  • Louisville
  • Gonzaga
  • Kansas
  • Duke

The toughest decision was who to give the final spot to. I ended up taking the Blue Devils because of their top ranking in the RPI, but it could be a blessing in disguise as Indiana would be placed in the Indianapolis region and Duke would be shipped out to Los Angeles.

NCAA First Four Games

  • Boise State-Middle Tennessee, LIU Brooklyn-Liberty
  • Iowa State-Villanova, Western Kentucky-North Carolina A&T

CBI First Round Matchups

  • Illinois State @ LSU
  • Weber State @ Texas
  • Utah State @ Texas A&M
  • UTEP @ Washington
  • Murray State @ St. John’s
  • Florida State @ Indiana State
  • Purdue @ Georgia Tech
  • Eastern Kentucky @ Detroit
Connor Pelton (296 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.


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